Biking, Working, Biking to Work.
Vacation Day Two: Biking in Yosemite
The plan for today was to do a couple of very big climbs on my A. Homer Hilsen. I set my alarm for 5:45am, but woke up at the auspicious hour of 5:08am and got going. I managed to start my ride promptly at 7am from Yosemite Valley, which meant a cool, low-traffic climb up to Glacier Point. If you've never been, it can be a little stomach-churning:



That's 3200' of elevation between the camera and the trees below. My GoPro's fancy fisheye lens is about the only way to convey the enormity of the Yosemite Valley. Across the way you can see Half Dome, which stands ~4000' above the trees down in the valley, for some sense of scale.

The ride itself was fantastic. Speckled in shade most of the way by redwoods or cliff walls, and enjoying a consistent grade, I went from 4000' above sea level to almost 8000' without really registering that I was climbing. (Trust me, it's better that way.) When I finally did get to Glacier Point, I had a late breakfast, and then returned to the valley below. Apparently I hit a bit over 55mph on the descent, so somewhere it must've been steep.

I planned to go up the other side of the Valley to Olmstead Point, which is a similar altitude above the valley floor... but ran out of water way too soon for it to be safe. The thermometer read ~108F, my water bottles were empty, and I realized that the gentleman in the information booth near where I parked must've assumed that I was driving when I asked about the water situation going up to Olmstead.

With a few more free hours in my Yosemite day than I had planned, I lazed about and enjoyed the scenery, eventually making my way back to Mariposa for another night before heading off to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the morning.

Vacation Day One: To Mariposa
I ended up delaying my departure from San Francisco for a day in order to get real life under control before completely checking out. I'm sure I've missed a few spots, but hopefully they don't flare up into Urgent Issues while I'm off breaking all of my collarbones and exploring as much of the southwest as I can. Que sera!



I arrived in Mariposa, CA, just outside of Yosemite around 6:30pm today after an uneventful drive with my beloved Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen and my still-exotic Cannondale Scalpel 29er on the roof of the car. No matter where you are in California, you're looking at something beautiful. Even the industrial wastelands are pleasant to look at if you can ignore the damage they're doing. After checking in to the cheapest motel in Mariposa (I'm using my sleeping bag liner if that's any indication) and stashing my bikes and electronics in my room, I wandered down the road to get some food and libations. Critically, I found enough calories and alco-calories to make my preparations for a big day on the Hilsen rather easy. First stop: A place called "Gold Coin" for a bunch of meat, a bit of green stuff, and an astonishing amount of carbs. Second stop: The shockingly great Prospectors Brewing Company. They're in "big city" Mariposa, pouring some truly top tier beer. Their IPA was surprisingly well-balanced despite competing in a landscape of "MORE HOPS MORE HOPS MORE HOPS". The 7% ABV wasn't apparent, the hop flavors were well-proportioned (not just bitter, not just floral, not just grassy), there was enough of a malt backbone to carry it through a pint (or two?), and it didn't leave any of the expected California IPA stank on the tongue. Great stuff. It might feature in my breakfast tomorrow before I climb two big hills! (The chocolate milk and snickers bar are definitely going straight into the furnace in the morning.)

I met more than a few people who are suspicious of my sanity when I told them about my plans for tomorrow and for the rest of my vacation. The good news is that I've gotten a bunch of other recommendations for places I need to check out as I continue to trek along my expected route towards the Grand Canyon and back. The bad news is that none of these people think I'm even a rough approximation of normal.

Plan for tomorrow: Climb from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. Descend. Climb from Yosemite Valley to Olmstead Point. Descend. Sleep. Oh, and take pictures.

(Oh, and please don't get too excited about this newfangled "blogging" thing, I expect to give up on it no later than tomorrow... but I guess as long as it saves me from texting 100 people with "I'm still alive", it's ok. Just don't get your hopes up!)

The Marin Mountains 200k
Since the AIDS Life/Cycle (enough thanks can't be rendered on the internet without making it implode, but thanks to everyone who contributed to me or any other rider!), I've realized that biking is like going on day hikes except with a lot more places to see and a much greater speed. 30+ miles of hiking in a day is challenging and fun, but 4x that is really only possible on a bike.

I'm pretty sure I have full-fledged Bikers' Sickness, and now a fun way to spend a day is pouring every last ounce of energy out to go farther. I signed up for my first brevet, a long distance, non-competitive cycling event, and managed to complete it in time despite the route providing the most difficult one-day physical challenge I've ever undertaken.

The day was full of sights like this...

And climbs like this nasty 15-20% gem with softball sized rocks the whole way...

I'd have taken more pictures, but honestly between being afraid of not making the time cutoff of 13.5 hours and being nauseous from exertion, I didn't get my camera out nearly enough. Next time, I'll do a better job. Here's a link to my Olde Fashioned Web Page of the pictures I took.

Worst Blogger Ever
Sorry, I'm pretty awful at remembering to update this newfangled internet thing. I seem to just ride my bike, work, and ride my bike to work, leaving little time for remembering to do things. You should see my sink. You probably don't want to see my sink.

Huge thanks to Bruce and Walp for their donations to the AIDS/LifeCycle to sponsor my ride!

About 15 minutes after mentioning that I was tracking my rides on runkeeper, I switched to strava. It seems to work a bit better with my gps. You can keep tabs on my riding at http://app.strava.com/athletes/jbeckham. I also embedded some newfangled internet things into the left side over there, if you are Mom and Dad. (I'm pretty sure everyone else who still sees this uses RSS.)

I've started riding to work occasionally. 40-45 miles on a bicycle to get to the office sounds a bit crazy, but the scenery along the way is too awesome to pass up. I've ridden through herds of deer (carefully!), through fog-filled forested valleys, along ridges with both the ocean and the bay in full view, and all while just going to work. And then I can eat three lunches during the day because I burned 2000 calories getting to work. Infinite sandwiches? Sign me up.

UPDATED HERO LIST:
  • Mike Brown!
  • Jason Lunz!
  • Mom and Dad Beckham!
  • Bruce Labatte!
  • Nathan Walp!

More About The Charities
Quick hero update: Mike Brown, Jason Lunz, and Mom and Dad Beckham are awesome.

The ride benefits the SF AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. Both help people with HIV live better lives (counseling, free/low-cost medical care, the list obviously goes on) and both work to make HIV a thing of the past through education and advocacy. Good people doing good stuff.

As An Active Blogger I Would Like to Draw Your Attention to the Fact That I Am Raising Money to Ends AIDS
Executive summary: I am riding the AIDS Lifecycle this year, to raise money for both the SF AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center... and to get to ride a bike a whole long way along a ridiculously beautiful coastline. I really need your help with donations, needing to raise $3k in order to ride. Here's the link to the donation site: http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/beckham Thanks, you are my hero.

I'm currently biking one gojillion* miles a week to get in good enough shape to ride 545 miles in 7 days. Today I did 69 miles, which is currently the longest I've gone... but it's easy to go a long way if you don't have to bike the next day. I have to figure out how to do over 100 miles in a day without getting to recover with a lazy Monday (and Tuesday).

I'm using runkeeper to track my workouts, so if you're interested in seeing where or how far I'm rolling, clicky clicky.

Honestly, between biking and working I seriously doubt I'll have time to do anything fancy on here... but I would love to make a thing on the left side to track both total miles and who's ridiculously awesome. (Ridiculously awesome enough to donate money to fight AIDS and to get me to bike a whole long way.) I'll just go ahead and do the more important one manually...
HEROES!:
  • Mike Brown!
  • Jason Lunz!
  • Mom and Dad Beckham!

*Obviously one gojillion is something less than 545 miles.

As An Active Blogger I Would Like to Draw Your Attention to the Fact That I Am Raising Money to Ends AIDS
Executive summary: I am riding the AIDS Lifecycle this year, to raise money for both the SF AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center... and to get to ride a bike a whole long way along a ridiculously beautiful coastline. I really need your help with donations, needing to raise $3k in order to ride. Here's the link to the donation site: http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/beckham Thanks, you are my hero.

I'm currently biking one gojillion* miles a week to get in good enough shape to ride 545 miles in 7 days. Today I did 69 miles, which is currently the longest I've gone... but it's easy to go a long way if you don't have to bike the next day. I have to figure out how to do over 100 miles in a day without getting to recover with a lazy Monday (and Tuesday).

I'm using runkeeper to track my workouts, so if you're interested in seeing where or how far I'm rolling, clicky clicky.

Honestly, between biking and working I seriously doubt I'll have time to do anything fancy on here... but I would love to make a thing on the left side to track both total miles and who's ridiculously awesome. (Ridiculously awesome enough to donate money to fight AIDS and to get me to bike a whole long way.) I'll just go ahead and do the more important one manually...
HEROES!:
  • Mike Brown!
  • Jason Lunz!
  • Mom and Dad Beckham!

*Obviously one gojillion is something less than 545 miles.

Happy Everybody Draw a Duck Day

Next